Yankees and Team USA first baseman Mark Teixeira suffered a strained right forearm hitting off a tee Tuesday before an exhibition against the White Sox and will miss the World Baseball Classic.
According to Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan, he’s currently slated to miss 7-10 days.
FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi confirmed through an official that Teixeira would be pulled from the roster. Team USA intends to go away from its provisional roster to bring in a replacement, which is bad news for those hoping Willie Bloomquist might take over.
As for the non-Bloomquist options currently on the roster, Ben Zobrist and Joe Mauer can both play first. Mauer would be a more attractive choice had either Buster Posey or Matt Wieters opted in. As is, Jonathan Lucroy and J.P. Arencibia are the backup catchers.
With Prince Fielder having passed, Teixeira was picked for Team USA over younger, better players like Allen Craig, Freddie Freeman and Paul Goldschmidt. The two-time All-Star hit .251/.332/.475 with 24 homers in 451 at-bats for the Yankees last season.
If Team USA is given free rein to pick its replacement, it might choose Ryan Howard, who has been very impressive with three homers and three doubles in 30 at-bats this spring. A healthy Craig would be the best play, but he’s been recently limited to DH duties by shoulder soreness.
Yankees’ special advisor and former outfielder Hideki Matsui expects to help the club “convince or recruit” Japanese two-way star Shohei Otani, according to a report from MLB.com’s Deesha Thosar. The Yankees are currently viewed as the favorites to sign Otani, though there still figures to be plenty of competition for his services when he finally becomes eligible to enter Major League Baseball.
Matsui also told Thosar that while he hasn’t seen a player find success as a hybrid pitcher/slugger in the majors, he’s taken notice of Otani’s success in both areas. “He’s done well in Japan, so as a baseball fan I’m looking forward to how he’s going to do here in the Majors and in the U.S.,” Matsui said, later adding, “If [pitching and hitting is] something he wants to do, and the team wants it, then why not?”
Neither the Yankees nor any other suitor should be too concerned with Otani’s ability to translate his .332 batting average and 3.20 ERA to MLB — at least, not just yet. There are still a few roadblocks in his path to the major leagues, most notably the lack of approval from the Players Association. Per FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman, the union doesn’t want to sign off on an agreement that would give the Nippon Ham Fighters a $20 million posting fee in exchange for Otani’s services. According to the posting system rules, Otani himself would be eligible to receive no more than a $4 million signing bonus.
The good news in all of this? The union agreed to reach a final decision by Monday, November 21, so there’s still a chance Major League Baseball will see the talented two-way player bring his unique skillset to the field in 2018.